Mine Model

Shhh! You’re invited into the Secret Room
to see our amazing scale model

When Empire Mine was operational, only management and their engineers were allowed into the “Secret Room.” Why?


Built in the 1930s, this private room, with its blacked-out windows, housed an accurate, intricate scale model of the mine’s below-the-surface workings. Few even knew that the room and model existed. Today, the model remains in pristine condition – complete with dramatic lighting and an interpretive recording.

Visitors can see over 367 miles of underground tunnels, covering five square miles. Most people are amazed when they see how vast the mine’s operations were, including activity beneath downtown GrassValley. Later on your visit, you’ll have the chance to walk down the shaft, and that represents less than one inch on the model. Anything beyond two inches on the model has been under water since the pumps were turned off in 1956.

The Secret Room – with its fascinating mine model – is a highly recommended starting point, especially for first-time visitors.  It’s also the best way to understand exactly how sophisticated the operations were … almost one vertical mile below the ground!